Art Dealers Have the Best Art?

Art Dealer Larry Gagosian Shows Private Stash in Abu Dhabi

By Kelly Crow for the Wall Street Journal

© Ed Ruscha Robin 1963

Among art collectors, there often exists a gnawing curiosity about the handful of paintings their dealers never sell because those pieces comprise the dealer’s own collection — a private art stash. Are such artworks actually the best of the lot, plucked first with savvy? Or are they merely a mixed bag of inventory and sentiment? Whatever the ultimate ruling, collectors tend to pounce on any chance to peer into a major dealer’s at-home collection.

On Sept. 22, around 72 works collected by powerful New York dealer Larry Gagosian will be exhibited in Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat, an exhibition space overseen by the country’s Tourism Development & Investment Company. The show, “RSTW,” focuses on works created by six post-war artists whose initials pop up in the cryptic title — Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and Christopher Wool.

Gagosian also sells work by these same artists –- naturally — in his nine galleries around the world, but the exhibit offers fresh clues about which ones he kept for himself. These include Twombly’s calming trio of purple flowers from 2001, “The Rose (IV),” and Wool’s gray abstract from 2005, “She Smiles for the Camera.” Among the earlier works in the show are Ruscha’s cheery blue “Robin” and Rauschenberg’s “Overdrive” from 1963. (Gagosian bought “Overdrive” at Sotheby’s a day after the artist died in 2008.)

Rita Aoun Abdo, the cultural department director of the Abu Dhabi tourism development organization, said she invited Gagosian because she thought it might stoke conversation among local art lovers. The country’s art scene is percolating, thanks in large part to the government’s plans to build a suite of major art museums there.At the Manarat space which opened last fall, Adbo said, “We’re trying to avoid doing classical exhibitions or shows you can easily find somewhere else.”

For his part, Gagosian said Tuesday that he is “very excited” to play collector, adding, “I hope that this exhibition advances the dialogue in this region.”

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About Art Collecting and Investment

Providing news about art collectors, collections and investments. Including the how to's, the why's and the where's of art collecting. Wanda Pepin, Christina Madden and Elaine Frenett are all professional artists who keep up on the world of art, while creating amazing works of art themselves.
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